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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 March, 2003, 12:57 GMT
Councillors vote on academy plans
A 20m City Academy could be built in the West End of Newcastle as part of plans to regenerate the area.

Newcastle City Council's cabinet is voting on the proposal on Wednesday as part of the Going for Growth project - which also includes new houses, leisure, health and transport facilities for the Scotswood area.

But the plan has been criticised as a ploy to bring middle class families into one of the more depressed areas of the city.

Councillor Keith Taylor, deputy leader of Newcastle City Council, said the academy would provide non-selective education for all.

The academie will be elitist and will lead to the introduction of a two-tier education system in the city
Ken Bell, Unison

He told BBC Radio Newcastle: "The city academy would provide the extra secondary school places that would be needed when Going for Growth is successful in the west end.

"The academy would be in the Scotswood area, for the existing Scotswood people and for the new families coming into the area.

But Ken Bell, the Unison Newcastle branch secretary, said he was against plans for the academy and feared a selective policy, despite Mr Taylor's reassurances.

He said: "Academies are part of a government agenda which is about increasing private sector involvement in education.

"A total of 20% of the capital funding of the new school will be from the independent sector... the academy will be totally independent of the council and the local education authority.

"There are major criticisms from the teachers unions, Unison and within the Labour party about the whole concept of academies and what it means.

"With Going for Growth, the majority of the working class residents in Scotswood are being moved out and a lot of them have already gone.

"The academie will be elitist and will lead to the introduction of a two-tier education system in the city."

Private schools may run academies
12 Feb 03 |  Education

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